Slaves of Habits and Traditions

Monthly Message of Our Lady of Medjugorje, March 25, 2005 “Dear children! Today I call you to love. Little children, love each other with God’s love. At every moment, in joy and in sorrow, may love prevail and, in this way, love will begin to reign in your hearts. The risen Jesus will be with you and you will be His witnesses. I will rejoice with you and protect you with my motherly mantle. Especially, little children, I will watch your daily conversion with love. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

One morning, while working on my regular and daily occupations, I met a man whom I knew. I saw that he was nervous and I asked: “How are you?”. He answered me: “I am really fed up with this snow and this ice!” I responded: “Why are you annoyed with the snow? We usually see so little of it in our region!”, and he said: “How not to be annoyed? The newspapers did not arrive yet, and it is almost midday! I read the newspaper every morning, and this morning they did not arrive! How can the day start well?” Someone else told me that the day started badly because he was in hurry, and he did not manage to drink his coffee, without which he couldn’t function very well…

This is our reality. The things of this world and the practices without which we cannot live determine our temper, the day and the time that is passing. We are unable to live without certain things, unimportant in themselves. We became slaves. And when we speak about slavery today, we should not think of prison cells, camps, jails and colonization of peoples and groups. Contemporary slavery, it is the slavery of the heart and the spirit. Our heart and our spirit are imprisoned. We live in our personal dungeons. We are tied by all kinds of attachments and bound by our own habits and traditions. We are slaves of reputation, work, false friendships, interests, money, insurance companies, banks, games of fortune, alcohol, drugs, the media… In a world, which does not cease announcing the personal freedom, we became modern slaves.

When Jesus announces to his contemporaries that he has come to make them free in Spirit and in Truth, they rebel by saying that, being sons of Abraham, they are nobody’s slaves. (Cf: Jn 8,31-42) However, once again the thoughts of Jesus were not their thoughts. Jesus speaks about slavery to sin, of the blind slavery to the law, which neglects the heart and the needs for the concrete person. Jesus advances towards the cross and death to make us free, to overcome sin, and to announce the time of the fullness of life.

 Each one of us can recognize his own prison and dungeon. Very close to us, a voice announces freedom. The way of the freedom, which is not limited by systems or the world politics, is to leave sin and human chains. The poet sings: “You are created for flying, my soul!” True freedom does not consist in the absence of walls and bars. Freedom is lived in the heart. At our time, certain prisoners are more free than those who live in freedom. There is no freedom without God, because the free will is an inalienable gift that comes from God. Confessionals, in particular in Medjugorje, are today places of freedom, which give witness of the victory of the mercy of God over the sin of men. The words of the priest, “Your sins are forgiven, go in peace!”, mean: “God renewed you in Spirit and in Truth, go and live free of any sin and any attachment!”

-Fr. Mario Knezovic

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